Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia’s self-flagellation campaign continues, but again no evidence of any creative additions, only ad nauseam regurgitation of earlier mythological constructs. The main focus of Russian posturing today has been the supply of the S-300PMU2 Favorit / SA-20B to Syria, with numerous statements claiming it will happen or might not happen, and intentionally promoted speculation about supplying however many US$1B batteries to Syria free of any charge. It appears Israel, with its large diaspora of Russian and Ukrainian Jews, is the specific target of this campaign. Veiled threats of “catastrophic consequences” if Israel takes out these systems when delivered, is a play that will not play well, pun intended, in Jerusalem. A fascinating study by Gubin of the “Homo putinus”, a more colourful label for what others have labelled the “Weimar Russian”. Melnikov argues that Russia’s specific pique aimed at the UK is wholly motivated by envy over the success of the Commonwealth, versus the failure of Russia’s attempts to form what is often labelled the “Russian World”.
In the UK almost no news on Col. Skripal and his daughter, unless one counts The Times citing the Moskovsky Komsomolets.
G7 meeting sees Russia criticised. OPCW active in Syria. Analysis of Russia’s materialising woes in Syria by Syed. Mehta on the cruise missile strike. Some further reports on Iran.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow has not yet made a decision on whether to deliver advanced S-300 missile systems to Syria.
Moscow denies it will soon supply the Assad regime with sophisticated missile defense weaponry
Senior Russian officials made the comments in a national newspaper.
Russia considers a possibility to pass the S-300 missile systems ‘Favorite’ to the Syrian authority as Kommersant reported. According to the title, Russia has already made such claims since the missile strike on Syria on April 14. Sergey Rudskoy, the Chief of the Operational Directorate-General of Russia’s Armed Forces was the first who claimed about such necessity. On April 16, Sergey Lavrov, the Foreign Minister of Russia also made such claim. He repeated it on April 20 for RIA News, claiming that Russia ‘has no moral obligations’ after the missile strike on Syria launched by the US and allies. Also, on April 20, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with the heads of the General Staff and Defense Ministry during which they discussed ‘some aspects of the situation in Syria, according to the official version. However, no details were reported. The sources closed to the military leadership reported that the issue of the handover of the missile systems to the Syrian army is almost decided. It is also noted that S-300 will be passed to Syria within the provision of the military and technical aid as Bashar Al-Assad’s regime does not possess funds for the purchase. Also, Russia does not plan to draw a credit. It is supposed that the S-300 missile systems used by Russian army will be passed to Syria. Russia’s Defense Ministry has not published any official comments on this issue yet. The issue of the handover of the Russian S-300 missile systems was raised by Syria in 2010. However, the concluded contract was canceled due to the position of Israel concerned about its airspace security. This time, it is supposed that the response can be even more negative down to the strikes on the supposed locations of the missile systems.
Moscow military sources quoted saying Putin may soon deploy powerful air defense system; but FM Lavrov insists no decision has yet been made
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Moscow is undecided on whether it would deliver advanced S-300 missile systems to Syria, but would not make a secret of the matter if it took such a decision
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:50 P.M.) – The Russian cargo ship, RoRo Sparta II, has reportedly arrived to the Port of Tartous in western Syria, today, Yoruk Isik of the Bosphorous Observer told Al-Masdar News this morning. According to Isik, the RoRo Sparta II made the long journey from the Russian port-city of Novorossiysk earlier this week to the Port of Tartous.
A shower of paper airplanes darted through the skies of Moscow and other towns in Russia today, as users answered the call of entrepreneur Pavel Durov to send the blank missives out of their windows at a pre-appointed time in support of Telegram, a messaging app he founded that was blocked last week by Russian regulator Roskomnadzor (RKN) that uses a paper airplane icon. RKN believes the service is violating national laws by failing to provide it with encryption keys to access messages on the service (Telegram has refused to comply).
Russia’s national firewall has taken out access to Google services in its attempt to block Telegram, Facebook is accused of acting as a vehicle for anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has called on supporters across Russia to stage a new protest against the government’s efforts to block the popular messaging app.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 22 – The changes in regimes Russians have experienced over the last 40 years have transformed the basic social type from homo sovieticus to homo post-Sovieticus and now tohomo Putinus, an evolution that is “extremely interesting to observe but not always something to be happy about,” Dmitry Gubin says. In a Rosbalt commentary, the Russian journalist, writer, and television host says that these three types represent different “social types, although they are closely related” with some elements of the earlier ones playing a role in defining the features of their successors (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2018/04/21/1698001.html). Viewed from this distance, Gubin says, homo sovieticus looks “even sympathetic.” Yes, he knew when to shout hurrah, drank too much and “knew that the USSR was better than America because in America, they lynch Negroes.” But he didn’t really believe in Marxism-Leninism or want to see the country go to war. “Homo post-Sovieticus,” he continues, set aside his “idealism and hypocrisy as soon as he acquired money.” This new man, which had its apogee in the period between 1996 and 2012, the commentator says, “the era of triumphant glamour wanted not so much things as status,” something he believed he could acquire by buying foreign goods. “Having gotten rich, post-Sovieticus didn’t set up a society of equals. On the contrary, he cut himself off from his neighbors,” erecting walls reaching “to the moon.” And he “began to relate to the world as to a store, having [almost entirely] forgotten that the world is a school class.” According to Gubin, “the ideological emptiness of post-Sovieticus was filled by everyday racism: Europe in his eyes was a place for shopping and rest but where unhappily Negroes and Arabs walked about on the streets when in his opinion they should have been kept” out of sight so as not to disturb people like himself. There have been many articles and even books about homo sovieticus and homo post-sovieticus, the commentator says; but so far, because homo putinus is so new, “nothing has been written.” Indeed, the type emerged in its full horror only “after Crimea when “glamour was replaced by patriotism.” This new man is significantly different than his predecessors. “For example, in his passionate rejection of the personal and individual in favor of the general and collective. And this isn’t the Soviet ‘think first about the Motherland and then about yourself.’” Instead, it has defined its motherland in a new and disturbing way. “If homo post-sovieticus defined himself by his profession or income … homo putinus has begun to define himself by the expression ‘I am a Russian,’ without noticing that the individuality in this is defined by the denial of the individual,” Gubin says. Another characteristic of this human type, he continues, is its hypocrisy and a syncretic and mechanical combination of the mutually exclusive. Homo putinus sees nothing problematic in a scene “where a monument to Lenin faces a new Orthodox church and Nicholas II and Stalin stand alongside one another as two heroes.” Similarly, “homo putinus at one and the same time curses ‘Gayeurope,’ drives a German car, and signs that there will never be roads in Russia like those in Europe although of course we are the greatest country in the world.” He knows that the Orthodox Church “was born in the CPSU but calls a priest to bless his office. He hasn’t read ten pages of the New Testament but is nonetheless certain that a Russian must be Orthodox.” “It is possible,” Gubin suggests, “that this syncretism is connected with a third aspect of homo putinus,” an apparent desire to remain ignorant of the way of the world. Of course, homo sovieticus didn’t know many things, but he was “ashamed of his ignorance and respected knowledge.” Homo putinus is proud of his ignorance and has no respect for learning. Indeed, the latest new man has no respect for culture and views “complicated, intellectual things as something funny.” He doesn’t listen to classical music, he doesn’t read serious books, he doesn’t support paying intellectual workers a living wage, and he can’t get a serious newspaper because there aren’t any. What homo putinus does to, again “as a result of syncretism,” is to invest his money in the education of his children abroad if possible or at the very most prestigious places in Moscow if necessary. “Children [for him] have become not so much the meaning of life as a defense against it.” In this way, homo putinus is “sharply limiting his life prospects to just two: either learn a foreign language and emigrate or remain living in a country with a stagnating economy and the possibility of landing in prison for an incautious post on a social network.” Not surprisingly, such people are angry at just about everything – “yet another typical aspect” of the type. For homo putinus, Gubin says, “anger is justified by his view that he lives in a besieged fortress,” although he become furious if someone suggests Russia is becoming like North Korea, although he is acceptant of the idea that a nuclear war is “almost inevitable: if you don’t want to take us into consideration, then you can die together with us.” And that too is a basic characteristic of homo putinus, something that makes him far more dangerous than either of his predecessors.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 23 – A few days ago, the Russian foreign ministry accused Great Britain not only of holding “the world record for genocide” but of being behind the murders of Tsar Paul I and the mad monk Grigory Rasputin. Few observers accept either charge, Moscow commentator Aleksey Melnikov suggests, or should they. But there is one aspect of Britain that Russian officials don’t like even to mention, he says, because it highlights an indictment of Moscow for an amazing and continuing failure: the inability of Russia to form anything like the British Commonwealth, with its 53 member states and 2.4 billion people (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5ADB95F1B777A). Why have Vladimir Putin and other Russia leaders “who emerged from the Soviet past and the Soviet special services not been able to establish since the disintegration of the USSR anything like the British Commonwealth” which unites London and its former colonies? Melnikov asks rhetorically. “Why on ‘the post-Soviet space’ have Putin and Lavrov instead carried out annexations and wars? Why have they made Ukraine and Georgia opponents of Russia? Why of the countries of the former USSR does Russia not have a single ally? Even Belarus having built its national state with Russian resources will leave for Europe at the first chance it gets?” “Why,” Melnikov asks, “do all the countries of the former USSR look at Russia with fear? — a view none of the members of the British Commonwealth have of the United Kingdom. Instead, “Britain is an attractive model for the countries of the Commonwealth. Its political system, press, courts and free economy are an example and values which the member states want to share … Thus, they feel drawn to Britain despite the colonial past,” the Russian commentator continues. The “new Russia” has none of these attractive qualities, and no one wants to adopt its system for itself. Russia is not only a bandit country but a backward one “in all senses.” And “therefore, the surrounding countries are running from it.” And tragically, “all the causes of this flight are from within Russia itself.” “Britain was able to draw conclusions from its colonial history,” Melnikov says.” It was able to create “a vital organism on the ruins of its former empire, one which corresponded to the spirit of the new times.” The new Russia, however, “hasn’t learned anything from its history” and is simply angry and seeking revenge for what occurred in 1991. “This hasn’t ended well. Russia has suffered a historic defeat, a strategic defeat. It remains isolated and domestically weak … [And] it is incapable of offering itself or the world anything which corresponds to the spirit of the times or gives positive prospects for itself and for others.” It is unclear how long this “convulsion” is going to last. “But the end is clear and has been so for a long time,” he says. A country can’t live in the present-day world the way Russia is trying to. “And Russia will not live in the future as it lives now. It must change its assessment of itself, its history, and its place in the world … It must learn from Western countries.” At some point, “Russia will become part of the contemporary world, just as Germany and Japan did so after World War II.” Whatever its leaders in Moscow think, it has no choice but to do so if it is to survive.
The fiancé of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, works at an organisation with links to the Russian security services and has gone into hiding. Stepan Vikeev, 30, has not been seen since Yulia, 33, and her father, Sergei, 66, a former Russian military intelligence officer, were poisoned last month, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported. Mr Vikeev has not answered Ms Skripal’s calls since she was discharged from hospital and deleted all his social media accounts after the attack, for which the government has blamed Russia. Mr Vikeev is believed to work at the Institute of Modern Security Problems, a Moscow-based organisation thought to have links to Russia’s security services. The institute is said to be headed by his mother,…
On March 4, former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, a British resident, and his daughter Yulia, visiting from Russia, were found slumped on a park bench in the quiet town of Salisbury, Wiltshire, the victims of an apparent poisoning by a nerve agent called Novichok, allegedly part of the former Soviet chemical weapons program. Subsequentl…
A senior U.S. official has told reporters that foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations remain determined to oppose Russia’s efforts to “destabilize” nations arou…
While united in opposing Russia’s destabilizing behavior, they also agreed to leave the door open for dialogue with Moscow, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday.
It remains a fact that the war is not dear to most Russians. They are tolerating it only because they are made to believe that it is not a costly adventure. With the intensification of the conflict, Kremlin will certainly lose control of the situation. After the Deir al-Zour carnage, the Kremlin was quick to deny any responsibility. If the Russian mercenaries did, in fact, take the initiative on their own, it may become the classic example of wartime chaos in which the client begins to take the lead within a conflict. It also signifies that Putin will have to deal with a growing number of such incidents in the coming days. When, if ever, such an incident threatens American military personnel, the issue will become much more serious. Moscow will have to take the back foot in order to avoid wider escalation – something that will not go well with Putin’s strongman image. For now, Putin has the upper hand. He has established Russia as a major geopolitical player. He thinks he is winning in Syria. But it is certain that he will be facing a string of dilemmas in the coming days. As the saying goes: the curtain cannot be drawn until the last act has been played.
Rebels hope inspectors will gain access to graves of those killed
Browse, search and watch Syrian Chemical Weapons videos and more at abcnews.com
Russia didn’t engage its S-400 system in Syria, but that was likely by design.
It depends who you ask–and when.
Middle-East Arab News and Opinion – Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned against showing any weakness toward Vladimir Putin while insisting he wants to work with the Russian president.
The Syrian conflict and our involvement in it is reminiscent of the Vietnam War. A reader from Hawaii explains why we need to go all in or get out.
Russian and Chinese officials have agreed to try and prevent the United States from “sabotaging” the Iran nuclear deal in the face of President Trump’s looming deadline to withdraw from the agreement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday he had agreed with his Chinese counterpart that Moscow and Beijing would try to block any U.S. attempt to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
<p>The current tug-of-war taking place between the two sides of the Atlantic over the Iranian nuclear deal is about the nature and effectiveness of sanctions, writes Raghida Dergham</p>
Iran has warned that it is ready to “vigorously pursue” its nuclear weapons programme if President Trump withdraws the US from the deal that halted it in 2015.The statement appeared to be calculated to complicate Mr Trump’s preparations for talks in the coming weeks with Kim Jong-un about North Kore